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Thread: Does Zarqawi read the Washington Post?

  1. #1
    Partridge Guest

    Does Zarqawi read the Washington Post?

    Does Zarqawi read the Washington Post?
    Sami Ramadani - Guardian Comment

    If he's still alive, he'll read that the US military has been trying to magnify his role in Iraq in order to justify their assault on Iraqi cities.

    Arch terrorist and blood curdling executioner, Jordanian citizen Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, has at last obliged and supplied the US-led occupation forces in Iraq, and the world at large, a frontal and very clear picture of himself. Along with many friends and commentators, I often wondered whether Zarqawi was real, and if so, was he still alive, particularly that the CIA had claimed, before the 2003 invasion, that his leg (which one I know not) was amputated in a Baghdad hospital. What are the chances of survival of a one-legged-man, hopping from one besieged and bombarded Iraqi city to another? This, after the US-led occupation forces have, during the three years captured or killed, at the last count, at least 40 men described as "right hand man" or "second in command" or "deputy" or "top aide" ? (See report by the brilliant independent American journalist Dahr Jamail) Newsweek investigations into Zarqawi left it puzzled two years ago:

    "The stark fact is that we don't even know for sure how many legs Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi has, let alone whether the Jordanian terrorist, purportedly tied to al Qaeda, is really behind the latest outrages in Iraq." (Newsweek, 7 March 2004)

    The CIA appears to keep a keen eye on the anatomy of famous terrorists. There were many media reports, before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, that Zarqawi's line manager, Bin Laden, had one kidney diseased or removed (which one they did not say) at an Abu Dhabi Hospital. But I digress.

    Zarqawi's new video and pictures appeared on 24 April 2006 on Al-Jazeera (Arab satellite TV station based in Qatar where the headquarters of the US forces in Middle East are based), exactly two weeks after the Washington Post published a report entitled "Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi. Jordanian Painted As Foreign Threat To Iraq's Stability." The report stressed:

    "The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." (Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, April 10, 2006)

    I am indebted to Gabriele Zamparini for drawing my attention to the above. Gabriele has a website on which he blogs his exchanges with journalists and editors of newspapers, radio and TV. The exchanges are very instructive and a must read on Iraq. Gabriele's most recent letter, to the Independent, included the above quote and was entitled "Does Robert Fisk read the Independent?" Unlike the paper he writes in, the distinguished reporter has cast serious doubt on whether Zarqawi exists.

    But whether Zarqawi does exist or is the product of a faceless disinformation department, bunkered deep inside the occupation's headquarters at the Green Zone in Baghdad, what is certain is that the Pentagon has unfortunately succeeded in convincing a lot of people that the Iraqi patriotic resistance is one and the same as Zarqawi's terrorist gang. Zarqawi has also proved useful as a pretext for besieging and bombarding a number of Iraqi cities. Infamously, he was cited as the reason for the US forces destroying of the city of Falluja, where the US forces used chemical weapons.

    The American people (also known by the US administration as the "U.S. Home Audience") are addressed by the Pentagon in a pretty unique fashion. This is how it works: you first get a Pentagon-paid person in the US to write an item in English on how wonderful things are in Iraq; secondly you get another a Pentagon paid person to translate the item into Arabic; thirdly, you pass the item to an Iraqi journalist/editor, in the free and democratic Iraq, and ask him/her to publish it under his/her name in return for scores of dollars; fourthly you get the article translated back into English in the US and feed it to the American and world public through the Pentagon's propaganda machine and the obliging media. Conscious of its role in convincing the American people of the WMD lies, and for which it apologised, the New York Times headlined the revelation prominently last December: "U.S. Is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in Iraq Papers." The disturbing report also referred to the illegality of the practice within the US:

    "The Government Accountability Office found this year that the Bush administration had violated the law by producing pseudo news reports that were later used on American television stations with no indication that they had been prepared by the government. But no law prohibits the use of such covert propaganda abroad."

    Presumably the Bush administration felt that if it was legal to deceive the world public, why not try it on the American people? Besides, if the whole war was illegal what is the harm in illegally reporting on it?

    So, has the US stopped the illegal practice since the NYT reported on it last year? Not according to the Washington Post report of 10 April 2006:

    "For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

    Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist. Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents in Iraq have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain "a very small part of the actual numbers," Col. Derek Harvey, who served as a military intelligence officer in Iraq and then was one of the top officers handling Iraq intelligence issues on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an Army meeting at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last summer."

    I would only add that the US occupation forces admit to a monthly average of 2,500 military attacks (down from about 3000/month last year) against the occupation forces. Zarqawi claims a handful of operations a month, mostly against Iraqi targets. However, the terrorist atrocities, some claimed by Zarqawi and others blamed on him, routinely make the headlines across the world.

    And before any reader asks "does Sami Ramadani read the Guardian ?" The answer is yes, I do!

  2. #2
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    I guess Bush was right in blaming the media.

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